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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Seattle’s incredible one-inning rally

The Mariners weren’t doing much of anything until a sudden burst put them ahead last night.

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Yankees waited until the last minute to manage it, but they pulled out a win yesterday against the Rays and put themselves in position to win their first series against the current rulers of the AL East. Every game is going to be crucial with the hole that they’ve dug themselves into, especially given how crowded the competition around them is.

Speaking of the field, let’s check in with what the rest of the league’s AL contenders did last night:

Toronto Blue Jays (20-14) 8, Pittsburgh Pirates (20-14) 2

It’s been a humbling week for the NL Central leaders, who have gotten the full AL East treatment lately. The Rays hosted them earlier in the week and promptly swept them, and now the Blue Jays have invaded PNC Park and taken the first two games of this series with relative ease.

Toronto got right to work in the top of the first, getting their first three batters on base via a pair of singles and a walk. Johan Oviedo got the next two Blue Jays to make outs, but Brandon Belt laced a double to right that scored two and then Alejandro Kirk drove him in with a double of his own. In the third Oviedo again struggled to get the final out of the frame, surrendering a two-out walk to Belt before three straight singles drove in three more runs. Just like that, it was 7-0 — and that was more than enough for José Berríos, who worked into the seventh and delivered a bounce-back start after a clunker against Boston.

Atlanta Braves (23-11) 5, Baltimore Orioles (22-11) 4

Spencer Strider was absolutely dealing in this one, racking up 10 strikeouts, but the Orioles made him work to put them away and managed to force his exit after just five innings. The O’s even got a pair of runs off of him in the fourth inning when Adam Frazier flipped a two-out single into left field, but Atlanta tied it up in the bottom of that inning and in the fifth retook the lead thanks to an RBI single from Ronald Acuña Jr.

Baltimore responded once Nick Anderson entered in relief of Strider, starting a rally with Ryan Mountcastle singling to right before Anthony Santander doubled him home. After an error moved Santander over to third, Frazier hit a ground ball that was just slow enough to prevent a double-play, meaning the run scored and the O’s had the lead right back. That held until the eighth inning, when the O’s went to Danny Coulombe with a runner on and one out. Atlanta countered by pinch-hitting Kevin Pillar for Eddie Rosario, and Pillar rewarded them with a go-ahead two-run shot to left. Raisel Iglesias easily shut the door in the ninth, and the Braves walked away with the win.

Seattle Mariners (16-17) 7, Houston Astros (17-16) 5

For seven innings, the Astros had the Mariners flummoxed. J.P. France tossed five shutout innings allowing just four baserunners, and the first two relievers out of the ‘Stros’ bullpen held serve. Meanwhile, a sacrifice fly and a single got Houston two runs in the fourth inning and a wild sequence nearly netted them two more in the fifth. Yordan Alvarez doubled with two men on, and while the runner from second scored easily the runner from first was thrown out at the plate — but the initial call on the field was that Tom Murphy had been blocking the plate too early allowing the runner to score. That call was challenged and overturned, but it was still all Houston up to this point.

Then, the bottom of the eighth inning rolled around. It was nearly harmless for Houston, as Rafael Montero got the first two batters to go down on a groundout and strikeout respectively. That was before the following happened: Eugenio Suárez walked, Cal Raleigh singled, Teoscar Hernandez singled, and J.P. Crawford doubled to unload the bases and tie the game. Montero was pulled for Ryne Stanek, who proceeded to allow this sequence: a walk to Taylor Trammell, a double to Jose Caballero, a single to Julio Rodriguez, a single to Ty France (who led off the inning), and a single to Jarred Kelenic. Suárez finally ended the inning with a grounder, but not before the Mariners transformed a 3-0 deficit into a 7-3 lead.

Despite the demoralizing results of the prior inning, Houston made a run at a comeback in the ninth. Kyle Tucker led off with a single and Jeremy Peña doubled to left to set up runners on second and third with no-one out. The next two batters failed to drive them home, but Jake Meyers laced a double to left that scored them both and slimmed the lead to just two. Still, it was a daunting task and Mauricio Dubón couldn’t continue the rally, striking out instead to end it.

Other Games

Boston Red Sox (21-14) 7, Philadelphia Phillies (15-19) 4: Boston pulled ahead with a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Rafael Devers and a two-run single from Christian Arroyo. Philly got within striking distance on a Bryce Harper solo shot in the fifth that made it 5-3 Boston, but a two-run sixth for the road team (courtesy of former Yankee Rob Refsnyder driving in the runs on a double) put it away for good.

Cleveland Guardians (15-18) 4, Minnesota Twins (19-15) 3: Cleveland strung together a trio of walks with a trio of singles in the fourth inning to grab a three-run lead, with an ejection from Twins manager Rocco Baldelli sprinkled in midway through the frame. Max Kepler got the Twins back in it with a two-run blast, and a solo shot from Carlos Correa briefly tied it up before the Guardians got their go-ahead run on a Steven Kwan solo homer in the bottom of the seventh.